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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Futures for Friesan Fire

I think that these Derby Futures bets would be a lot more fun if the pools closed just before a big weekend of Derby preps rather than the evening afterwards. For one thing, you'd have immediate action either rooting for your choices, or against the ones you think are overrated. And while you might feel smart today if you'd already bet Friesan Fire before the Louisiana Derby - and I can't for the life of me possibly fathom why anyone would have bet into the pool beforehand - but by the time the pools close this evening you'll likely be left with odds that hardly reflect proper value seven weeks before the race.

Larry Jones' colt was the easiest kind of winner, gliding to the lead under a motionless Gabriel Saez after stalking Papa Clem down the backstretch, just waiting to pounce. It wasn't a good start for the son of AP Indy, a step slow out of the gate on the sloppy track. But he quickly recovered and was already on the leader's flank going into the first turn. Unfortunately, there's no split for the mile due to a timer malfunction, but the final 5/16ths in 30.12, with the horse never asked for run as he drew away "with aplomb," as noted by track announcer John Dooley, is impressive indeed. I know some people might say, 'oh, well he just likes the Fair Grounds,' which should serve to remind us that the synthetic track debate is, to a certain extent, merely a variation of one which we've always had in this sport even before the fake stuff came into existence.

Pretty good second for Papa Clem after setting an even pace. Patena, the great IEAH Derby hope, was far back in 8th despite a Tomlinson number of 441, and as of now likely lacks the graded earnings to even see the Derby starting gate. Yeah, we'll see how long Stardom Bound is pointing to the Oaks, ha ha.

- I see that Joe Drape, writing in the NY Times, is making excuses for the defeat of Old Fashioned, who he's had ranked first in his top ten, in the Rebel.

He chased Silver City through a rapid half mile in 46.07 and three quarters of a mile in 1.11.67. It was little wonder that Old Fashioned, the son of Unbridled’s Song, staggered home in the stretch. [NY Times]
Well, the fact is that Old Fashioned ran nearly an identical race to his effort in the Southwest. That day, he chased Silver City through fractions of 22.63 and 23.67, and then drew away despite slowing down to 24.81 and 26.28. This time, he chased the speedball through splits of 22.81 and 23.53, again took the lead while decelerating, this time to 25.33 and 26.42. Unfortunately for him, this time he had to go an additional sixteenth and didn't make it to the wire. That extra distance is the only excuse I can see, and his failure to negotiate it makes it hard for me to see how anyone can maintain any enthusiasm for this colt at a mile and a quarter.

Win Willy ($115.60), making his first start around two turns, is a son of the Derby winner Monarchos, out of City Fair, a sprint stakes winning daughter of Carson City. He's inbred 4x4 to Northern Dancer and 5x5 to Hail to Reason. His dosage index comes in over the old, discredited "limit" at 5.0.

- Pioneerof the Nile wasn't very impressive visually, but, as I mentioned here, didn't need to be at all cranked up for this effort, merely a prep for the upcoming Santa Anita Derby. Without much competition in the field of the San Felipe, he found himself up on the lead earlier than usual, and Garrett Gomez was busy to keep him focused in the stretch. Baffert explains:
"He was a May foal, so he’s not even three yet. I like what I saw today. This will tighten the screws up for the Santa Anita Derby.

"It won’t be like this in the Santa Anita Derby, because he’ll have (The) Pamplemousse....He likes to run at horses, and he’ll get plenty to run at from here on out.” [Bloodhorse]
After running the first quarter in 24.78, it was basically even 24 second splits from that point on before a final sixteenth of 6.26. So he may have tired a bit in the stretch, but nothing wrong with that at this time of year - seemed like a useful training and conditioning exercise for the son of Empire Maker.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't Oaklawn have a reputation as a track that is tiring for horses?
Old Fashioned may like CD a lot better.

Anonymous said...

Win Willy must be inbred to Raise A Native also?

In any case, OF was not high on my list to begin with, and I crossed him off my list entirely.

Most Unbridled's Songs seem like sprinter/milers and this one had a perfect trip against a very modest group yet folded like shirt.

Not to take anything against Win Willy, who certainly leveled off nicely and may be a nice colt, but this race was hardly one of the top 3yo fields this season.

Sure it is obvious to everyone that only two colts made it through this weekend's eliminations unscathed, Friesan Fire, who was truly impressive in the toughest field this season, and POTN who just keeps doing what he is supposed to, winning.

Forget the rest.